tv CBS Evening News With Katie Couric CBS March 3, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
people who want to give little wally a home. see you at 6:00. >> couric: tonight, a story that could cost him his job. a federal agent tells cbs news he was ordered to let guns from the u.s. make their way to mexican drug cartels. i'm katie couric. also tonight, president obama's message to qaddafi. >> the violence must stop. moammar qaddafi has lost the legitimacy to lead and he must leave. >> couric: with the threat of a lockout hanging over the players n.f.l. contract talks go into overtime. and sea otters under attack from sharks and something more mysterious. captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news world headquarters in new york, this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric. >> couric: good evening, everyone.
they are two presidents leading a war against a common enemy: mexican drug cartels. president obama welcomed mexico's president felipe calderon to the white house today and mr. obama said the two countries are making progress against drug gangs. >> to combat the southbound flow of guns and money we are screening all southbound rail cargo, seizing many more guns bound for mexico and we are putting more gunrunners behind bars. >> couric: but one of the men on the front lines of the drug war is telling a very different story to cbs news. making an accusation that could cost him his job, an agent with the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives claims the agency has a policy that is actually putting guns in the cartel's hands. here's investigative correspondent sharyl attkisson. >> reporter: john doddson, a federal agent, says what he was asked to do was beyond belief. you were intentionally letting
guns go to mexico? >> yes, ma'am. i mean, the agency was. >> reporter: an alcohol, tobacco, and firearms senior agent assigned to this phoenix office since 2010, doddson's job is to stop gun trafficking across the border. instead, he says he was ordered to sit by and watch it happen. investigators call the tactic letting guns walk. in this case into the hands of criminals who would use them in mexico and the u.s. doddson's bosses say that never happened. now he's risking his job to go public. >> i'm boots on the ground here in phoenix and telling you we've been doing it everyday since i've been here. here i am. tell me i didn't do the things that i did. tell me you didn't order me to do the things i did. tell me it didn't happen. now you have a name on it, you have a face to put with it. here i am. someone. now tell me it didn't happen. >> reporter: agent doddson and other insiders say the gun-
walking strategy was approved all the way to the justice department. the idea was to see where the guns ended up, build a big case and take down a major cartel and it was all kept secret from mexico. a.t.f. named the case "fast and furious." this surveillance video obtained by cbs news shows suspected drug cartel suppliers carrying boxes of weapons to their cars at a phoenix gun shop. those long boxes being loaded into the red car are a.k.-47 type assault rifles. >> reporter: so it turns out a.t.f. not only allowed the guns to walk, they videotaped it. documents show the inevitable results. the guns a.t.f. let go began showing up at crime scenes in mexico and as a.t.f. stood by watching thousands of weapons hit the street, the fast and furious group supervisor noted the escalating mexican violence. 958 killed in march, 2010, the
most violent month since 2005. the same e-mail notes "our subjects purchased 359 firearms during march alone, including numerous barrett .50 caliber rifles. did you feel that a.t.f. was partly, perhaps, to blame for the escalating violence in mexico and on the boarder? >> yes ma'am, i even asked them if they could see the correlation between the two. the more that our guys buy, the more violence that we're having down there. >> reporter: senior agents including doddson told us they confronted their supervisors over and over. and what was the answer, what did they say? >> if you're going to make an omelet you've got to scramble some eggs. >> reporter: there was so much opposition to the gun walking that an a.t.f. supervisor issued an e-mail noting a schism among the agents. "whether you care or not people of rank and authority at headquarters are paying close
attention to this case. we are doing what they envisioned. if you don't think this is fun, you're in the wrong line of work. maybe the maricopa county jail is hiring detention officers and you can get $30,000 to serve lunch to inmates." >> we just knew it wasn't going to end well. there's no way it could. >> reporter: then on december 14 2010, border patrol agent brian terry was gunned down. doddson got the bad news from a colleague. they said "did you hear about the border patrol agent?" i said "yeah." they said "well, it was one of the fast and furious guns." and there's really not much you can say after that. >> reporter: two assault rifles a.t.f. had let walk nearly a year before, similar to these, were found at terry's murder. >> i felt guilty. i mean, it's crushing. i don't know how to explain it. i mean... >> reporter: doddson told
authorities to senator grassley who is investigating. what's been the response? the response has been practically zilch standpoints that document we want we have not gotten them and i think it's a case of stonewalling. >> reporter: doddson says he hopes speaking out helps the family of border patrol agent brian terry. they haven't been told much of anything about his murder, where the bullet came from. >> first of all i would tell them that i'm sorry. second of all, i would tell them that i... i've done everything that i can for them to get the truth. after this i don't know what else i can do, but i hope to get it. >> reporter: doddson says they never did take down a drug cartel, however he says thousands of fast and furious weapons are still out there and
will be claiming victims on both sides of the border for years come. sharyl attkisson, cbs news, washington. >> couric: late today the a.t.f. said it will convene a panel to look into its national firearms trafficking strategy but refused to comment specifically on sharyl's report. for more of the a.t.f. agents' story, you can go to our web site at cbsnews.com. also today, president obama had a message and a warning for libya's moammar qaddafi. >> the violence must stop, moammar qaddafi has lost legitimacy to lead and he must leave. those who perpetrate violence against the libyan people will be held accountable. >> couric: the president did not rule out military action, but his immediate concern is the humanitarian crisis. tens of thousands of foreign workers have fled libya and are stranded in tunisia. mr. obama has authorized airlifts to transport refugees back to their home countries. meanwhile qaddafi's crackdown on anti-government protestors is being investigated by the
international criminal court in the netherlands. the top prosecutor said today the dictator's inner circle, including some of his sons, could be charged with crimes against humanity. qaddafi's warplanes dropped bombs for a second day on a key oil town held by opposition forces. mandy clark is there. ( gunshots ) >> reporter: the town of el brega has seen some of the fiercest fighting in libya's uprising. pro-government forces have held the town briefly yesterday but they have now been pushed down the road to the west. but this morning the government's warplanes were back insideing, bombing the area around the strategically vital oil shipping terminal once again. in tripoli, saif qaddafi acknowledged it had been burned but said the attack was intended to scare off the rebels not kill them and he gave a chilling assessment of just how vital this place is. >> reporter: we went to the
>> 17 were killed... >> reporter: we went to the scene of the bombing with militia commander abdull rahman. three huge craters a short distance from the entrance of the oil terminal. >> reporter: he agreed with qaddafi's assessment. this terminal can pump 55,000 barrels of oil to supertankers each day. that's why he believes the dictator will strike here again. the terminal itself was calm today. yesterday this position was overrun by pro-qaddafi forces. today it's back in rebel hands and they say they're here to stay. abdul rahman just signed up for the fight yesterday and got all of 15 minutes training with his new gun but he's clear about what he wants.
to get there, he and his men they may have to head down the road to tripoli. tomorrow is friday and there's a big protest expected in benghazi which is the biggest in the east held by the rebels. the next question is how many people will hit the streets of tripoli where there's a call to protest and how will qaddafi react? >> couric: meanwhile, mandy, you've been on the front lines. has this become a civil war between east and west libya? and is there any chance the country will be partitioned? >> reporter: well, there's speculation that's exactly what qaddafi is preparing for and why he needs to take control of the oil terminal in this town. because it's not enough to have control of the oil fields. he needs a way of getting it out. katie? >> couric: mandy clark reporting from brega, libya, tonight. thank you, mandy. we have new details about the suspect in the attack yesterday on a group of american airmen in germany.
it appears the 20-year-old man had a grudge against the u.s. military. sources tell cbs news that when he was arrested, uka said "they are at war with us." uka, a radical muslim, opened fire on the airmen while they were in a bus at the frankfurt airport, killing two and wounding two others. investigators believe he acted alone and is not connected to any terror group. and there's an update tonight in a case that's become a real black eye for the navy. it involve a series of lewd tapes made on board an aircraft carrier. the ship's captain had already lost his job and as david martin reports, several top officers are about to lose theirs. >> reporter: 25 raunchy video which began as an embarrassment for the navy today produced a bloodbath. investigators recommended five senior officers, including a three-star admiral, for career ending letters of reprimand. it would have been six but one had already retired. admiral john harvey flatly rejected claims the videos were
intended as morale boosters for the ship's crew. >> navy leaders are not popular entertainers but professionals vested with extraordinary military authority who must be held to a higher standard. >> reporter: captain owen honors, the former executive officer of the aircraft carrier "enterprise" and star of "x.o. movie night," has been recommended for separation from the navy. the videos were part gag reel, part instruction. >> please drink a lot of water, stay hydrated out there. >> reporter: but honors knew they were offensive. >> there's a really good chance you're going to be offended tonight. >> reporter: the admirals were reprimanded for condoning the video even though claiming n each one they were innocent. >> the captain and the admiral, they don't know anything at all about the content of the video or movie this evening. >> reporter: 34 other crew members were cautioned or warned about poor judgment but they will all be able to continue with their careers. katie?
>> couric: david martin at the pentagon. david, thank you. still ahead on the "cbs evening news," adorable and in danger. the mysterious threat to sea otter this is california. but up next, a money dispute between millionaire players and billionaire owners puts the n.f.l. season in jeopardy. [ rob. and i was a pack-a-day smoker for 25 years. i do remember sitting down with my boys, and i'm like, "oh, promise mommy you'll never ever pick up a cigarette." i had to quit. ♪ my doctor gave me a prescription for chantix, a medication i could take and still smoke, while it built up in my system. [ male announcer ] chantix is a non-nicotine pill proven to help people vñ buquit smoking. it reduces the urge to smoke. some people had changes in behavior, thinking or mood, hostility, agitation, depressed mood and suicidal thoughts or actions while taking or after stopping chantix.
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contract talks have gone into overtime and the next n.f.l. season could be canceled if owners and players can't reach an agreement by midnight tomorrow night. wyatt andrews now on what this dispute is all about. >> reporter: in a record- shattering year for the national football league, 111 million people watched the super bowl, the most ever. the league's owners took in $9.3 billion, the highest ever. and the minimum wage for players was $330,000, also the highest ever. what's the problem? it's that $9.3 billion. the owners argue their share of that money isn't high enough. >> well, it's about the owners resenting the fact that money is going into the players' pockets instead of their own. >> reporter: in the current n.f.l. deal with players, the owners get the first billion dollars of revenue off the top and split the rest 60/40 in favor of the players. now they're demanding $2 billion
off the top plus two more regular season games. to the players, that's more work and more injuries for an 18% pay cut. >> the best way to do it is it's an argument between billionaires and millionaires. >> reporter: the stakes are enormous outside of the league. every n.f.l. stadium generates at least 2,000 seasonal jobs and $100 million in local spending. is the place packed? >> the place is packed. outside, inside, upstairs, the whole nine yards. >> reporter: at the camden club in baltimore three blocks from the ravens stadium owner pat liberto makes tens of thousands of dollars if the ravens play but loses it if they don't. >> i don't staff up as much, i don't have as many employees on board. >> reporter: with millions of workers still struggling in the economy, the president pointedly urged the league to get moving. >> for an industry that's making $9 billion a year in revenue, they can figure out how to divide it up in a sensible way. >> reporter: it was very late
today when negotiators asked a federal judge for that 24-hour extension in these talks to try to make a deal. for fans, this is a very good sign that some progress is being made but it only suspends by one day the threat that the to the n.f.l. season. katie? >> couric: wyatt andrews in washington. wyatt, thank you. coming up next, president obama has plenty of republican critics but so far no official challenger for reelection. what's the hold up? er. what's the hold up? wake up to sweetness with honey nut cheerios cereal. kissed with real honey. and the 100% natural whole grain oats can help lower your cholesterol. you are so sweet to me. bee happy. bee healthy. so i wasn't playing much of a role in my own life. but with advair, i'm breathing better. so now, i've got the leading part. advair is clinically proven to help significantly improve lung function.
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>> couric: 2011 has only just begun but campaign 2012 is already starting. a number of republicans are considering a challenge to president obama, including newt gingrich-- the former speaker of the house. he's not ready to throw his hat in the ring, but today jeff greenfield reports he did stick his toe in the water. >> reporter: and they're off and running-- sort of. >> will you be running for president in 2012? >> reporter: they're speaking, they're meeting, they're writing books but what the likely republican contenders haven't done is take any formal step towards launching a presidential campaign. last month, for example, former house speaker newt gingrich sure looked like a candidate, entering a big conservative meeting triumphantly to the theme of "rocky." but today back home in georgia, he announced a web site to help him decide if he should run. >> we are establishing a web site. we will look at this very seriously. and we will very methodically
lay out the framework. >> reporter: and gingrich is hardly alone. in fact, not one serious candidate has launched an exploratory campaign committee much less announced for president. >> well, i think it's important to get back to your question. >> reporter: four years ago, by contrast, all three of the major democrats had thrown their hats into the ring and the major republicans had all launched their committees. >> last time you had a lot of people in for an extended period of time and that didn't really accrue any particular advantage. >> reporter: in fact, many of the possible contenders are already well known. huckabee, romney and palin all ran national campaigns last time. newt gingrich has been a national figure for two decades. >> this is a contract with americans for america. >> reporter: there are personal considerations as well. mike huckabee is making real money for the first time in his life with a t.v. show and speeches. so is sarah palin. indiana governor mitch daniels is concerned about the impact on his family and, despite huge republican gains last fall and a democratic incumbent can
mediocre job approval ratings, president obama is seen as a formidable political figure who will be difficult to defeat. >> thank you. >> president obama at worst is even or in many cases is leading by as many as ten points. >> reporter: one tempting factor is that for the first time in decades there's no clear g.o.p. front-runner and nobody can predict who the favorite will be and when it comes to legal predictions nobody's usually right. katie? >> couric: all right, jeff, should be interesting. thanks very much. and coming up next on the "cbs evening news," what's killing the california sea otter? [ woman ] nine iron, it's almost tee time. time to face the pollen that used to make me sneeze. but with zyrtec® liquid gels, i get fast, 24-hour allergy relief. so i feel better by the time we tee off. zyrtec® liquid gels work fast, so i can love the air®.
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>> this year was an alarming number of white shark attacks that we identified. i think the jury's still out on, a, what it means and, b, why it happens. >> reporter: it's puzzling because the sharks don't eat the otters but one bite is enough to kill them. it's one reason for a worrying decline in the number of california sea otters. the latest count of this threatened species shows their population dropped at just over 2,700, a decline of more than 3.5%. the number of sea otter pups which is represent the future of the species is down 11%. >> this is a female that died right around the time that she was about to give birth. >> reporter: when otters die, they often end up in veterinarian melissa miller's lab, a kind of crime scene investigation for otter deaths. sharks are not the only problem. >> we know something's happening where otters that are prime-aged animals are dying of heart failure. >> reporter: since sea otters
spend their lives right along the coast their health can be affected not only by what's happening in the sea but also by what's happening on land. it's a complex often puzzling interaction. heart disease could be linked to the otters' voracious appetite that makes it vulnerable to toxic runoff from the land says tim tinker of the u.s. geological survey who tracks the >> disease causing parasites are going to end up in the ocean there and sea otters are at the top of that food chain. >> reporter: for a while in the effort to keep up the population abandoned sea otter pups were hand-raised by human surrogate mothers. it did not work. though frustrated, researchers continue to study otters, capturing them to look for signs of malnutrition and disease. still hoping to save an animal that remains better loved than it is understood. john blackstone, cbs news, monterey bay. >> couric: and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. i'm katie couric. thank you for watching.
see you back here tomorrow. good night. you're watching cbs5 eyewitness news in high- definition. "this broadcast realtime captioned by becky lyon." truly a higher education protest. we are live at the latest wild scene to unfold above the uc- berkeley campus. >> these people all make over $100,000. some of them over $200,000 a year. we are handing out ipads as if they need them. which should cost more, a new computer system for california courtrooms or a space shuttle. a truly mind blowing example at your money at waste. report cards will never be the same. why a bay area school district wants to drop the d. i'm dana king. >> i'm allen martin. right now protestors are venting their grievances from four stories up. live look from chopper 5 at